Nope, it wasn't that. There's a known battery overheating (and occasionally catching-on-fire) problem with the Inspiron 6000 and one batch of batteries. My battery serial number is just a hair outside the known-bad range, but it developed the same problem.
I replaced it with a decked out Latitude E6500. I got it with a 1920x1200 15" display, and not-Vista. It's really hard to find a 15" 1920x1200 screen.
Your eyes are liars (ha!). Well, they're very good, anyway, except when reading cat food labels. My Inspiron is a 17 and I find myself squinting at certain numbers on FT, but then like I said, I messed up my glasses a couple months back with my retard incident.
It would appear that Hiss is the rowdy one, though Boo isn't shy about defending h[is][er] self.
I was thinking exactly what Dieter asked - how long 'til the find the counter (call this t0) and how long until they knock the laptop off (call this t1). I estimate t1 - t0 = approximately 350 nanoseconds.